Monday, January 11, 2010

Educating Bea (Part III)

As a kindergarten, I’m impressed to see Bea (now 4 years old) and her classmates already know how to read three-letter words up to one syllable five-letter words in English. Bea can also add numbers as long as the sum does not exceed ten. If it’s more than that, she needs her toes as additional reference.

But it’s not only Bea learning. We, as parents, were also given extra task of tutoring her at home. Her school made it a point to include parents in the process by assigning “homework” to kids which, in some cases, the parents did it themselves. My wife does the cutting and pasting of objects on her notebook. I do a little bit of drawing but don’t interfere unless it concerns “reading” or “counting”.

At first I thought “yakang-yaka yan”. But my mistake was to assume too much in my capability and not looking at things from the point of view of a child. I realize that with all the education I got, books I’ve read, I’m still ignorant when it comes to the art of teaching. Cases in point:

Right of Left
When she was in nursery, they were taught “directions” (far, near, up, down, right, left etc). But in an exercise in one of their books, an illustration of a boy pointing to the right with a question “where is the boy pointing?”, Bea encircled the word “left” and the teacher marked it “X”. When I asked Bea where her right is, she raised her right arm. But when I showed her the “X” mark, she insisted - “Look Daddy oh”, and began mimicking the boy in the drawing. And she was right, I mean, correct. The boy was pointing to the left! Bea just demonstrated one of Einstein’s famous theories (the one about a bouncing ball inside a moving train). It all depends on the observer! To the reader, the boy is pointing right. But with respect to the boy, he is pointing left. How can I argue with that?

Small, Medium, Large
Bea is good with numbers too. She can count up to a hundred and knows the sequential order of each numeral. She knows there are four “fingers” in 4 and five “fingers” in 5. That is how she learns to add them together to become 9 “fingers”. What she can’t still grasp is the abstract quantity associated behind each symbol. Do I make sense? Let me illustrate. If you ask her what is between 6 and 8, she’ll tell you its 7. If you ask her what is before 3 and after 4, she’ll answer 2 and 5. But if you ask her which is bigger, 8 or 9? You get a blank stare. Her question – “Why is 9 bigger than 8 when they all have the same size”? How can I explain this to a 4 year old? Tell me, because I don’t know how.

Watch Did You Say?
Her diction is also good. Better compared to mine or to my wife whose speech sometimes has a British accent with a Visayan twang. Pixar and Walt Disney taught her that including the alphabet before she entered school. It was further enhanced when they were taught first to “vocalize” the alphabet. Reading is much faster to learn when they know the sound of each letter like “rrr” + “oo” + “www” for “row”. But since the sounds were patterned to the English vocalization, there is a drawback when she read Pilipino words. She sounds like those Fil-Ams in TFC learning how to speak Pilipino when she reads, for example, “papaya” (pe-pey-yah). She gets confused when we tried to correct it, so we leave it at that, hoping she’ll grow out of it.

Watch Did You Say, Agin?
Dictation is also an exercise they have in school. It helps hone pupils’ skill in writing and spelling. For her to get a better result, we practice it at home where we read to her simple sentences from her books like “He puts on his hat”, “She gets her bag”, “They look at the map”. But sometimes our Visayan tongue gets on the way and what she hears, she wrote down. To our embarrassment, the results are “He puts on his hut”, “She gets her bug”, “They look at the mop”.

Teaching my child is a whole new experience for parents like me. Its one way of bonding with her. It’s also challenging, funny and drives me crazy. You’ll get a mix feeling of amusement and frustration at the same time.


  1. Educating a child is not a 'child's play' after all. Mahirap pala. o",)

    With the thing 'which is bigger' siguro kailangan ng visuals. Ano kaya kung ipakita niyo kay Bea na ang siyam na pirasong dried dates (the fruit) ay mas marami kaysa sa walong pirasong dates? Huhmn, di ko rin alam ang pinakamabisang paraan.

    Good luck, at update niyo po kami. Aabangan ko ang Educating Bea Part III. U

  2. Heehee, I feel for you. If Bea is watching Dora the Explorer, I am sure she knows a number of Spanish words na rin (directions and adjectives, in particular).

  3. RJ, it's not the number of things. Its the word "big" or "small" that confuses her. She associate "big" with physical size.

    Ms.Jo, Ay marami syang Dora CDs. She knows "vamonos", "salta" and other spanish words. She can even count arabic from "wahid" to "ashara".

  4. Doc RJ, sorry ha! I found out Part III na pala ito sa series of "Educating Bea"!

  5. Bea is an intelligent girl. Kaka-4 lang din ng daughter ko and I will in no time teach her basic reading too. We, as parents always learn too, whenever our kids learn, we grow as they grow. Congratulations.

  6. whew. naalala ko kung pano manggigil ang mommy ko sa amin noong mga bata pa kami. mahirap talaga magturo. saludo ako sa mga "effective" teachers. they make things to make learning a fun thing to do.

    post ka pa ng mga ganito pards, magamit ko rin mga 3 or 4 years from now. hehehe.

  7. sheng, haba-haba-an mo ang pasyensia mo. Mahirap turo-an ang mga batang pilosopo katulad ng anak ko.

    ardyey, LOL! Gagamitin mo pa akong "reference", pards!

  8. Tawa ako nang tawa sa post mo. And I know what you're feeling. Nakakataba ng pusong klase ng ligaya ang makita ang anak mong natututo kasama mo.

    Kahit nga nand2 ako sa Saudi, ginugulo pa rin ako ng mga pamangkin ko to ask about their assignments like what do you call a baby monkey or a baby platypus.

    Minsan din kapag tumatawag ako sa bahay at tinatanong ko kung bakit gising pa sila, my sister's response is always: gumagawa pa ng assignments ng mga bata. Minsan nga raw inaabot silang mag-asawa ng hatinggabi paggawa ng flag ng Kenya o kaya India.

    Oh yes, kids are excellent mimics. Pero naiinis ako kapag they end their sentences with "...achuchuchu" (which they learned from me din).

    Bea's one lucky girl -- she has the best of teachers: you and your wife.

  9. Being a grandfather I could relate more, basically children now are more intelligent and wiser than we are 20 or 30 years ago.

    I noticed that today's kids are fast developing their skills in numerical and alphabetical sequential skills and the quantitative skills comes later as they progress in their learning process. The best way to illustrate the quantitative relationship of numbers is I cut the each numerals (1-9) from a card board, and for each card board I draw corresponding numbers of things like for number One, I place one flower inside the number, then Number 2 with 2 flowers, and so on. Teaching kids with math is trying to understand how their mind think, it really needs a lot of patience.

    I miss my apo tuloy.

  10. Nebz, yes, Bea is so lovable, basta huwag lang sumpungin ng tupak! Thank you too for your confidence in us, kahit we don't deserve it.

    Pope, may apo ka na pala. As for the quantitative relation of numbers, Bea knows that. It's the way I phrase the wording. She associate "big", "large", "huge" with physical size and not quantity.

    Dapat siguro I should have said "which has more (what ever object), 8 or 9?"

  11. Hello there, napaka cute nman ng topic dito. it really makes me read your post, very interesting to me as I have a five year old daughter who is now in grade one here in Dubai. In our case, my daughter is having a hard time adding but subtracting is easier for her. she watches Dora the Explorer a lot and she eality learn spanish counting like the way we count dos tres, also. I suggest that you buy her ABAKADA, we notice that it became easy for our Mica to read the eaglish words by syllables when she learn babebibobu, aeiou.

  12. ang galing na ni bea. ang dami nang alam sa edad niya, at natututo rin ang tatay kasabay ng bata. haha!

  13. your daughter is doing just fine. You'll be amazed as they mature, things will fall into the right places. My wife is stressed if my daughter fails to comprehend her math assignments ! I just tell her to calm down and she has to allow the child's brain to develop without extreme pressure :) As for size - large,med,small, kids appreciate it more with help of objects it seems.

  14. Yellow Bells, sadly, books here are limited unlike in the Philippines. We just rely on the school's "official" books.

    atticus, akala ko ang dami ko ng alam. Yun pala, bobo pa rin. : D

    bw, yes, nakaka-stress din pala ang pagtuturo. I wonder why they don't give importance to our teachers back home. : (

  15. hahahaha proud parents, biro mo nga naman at the age of 4 nakakabasa na.
    kaya nga yung anak ko nung grade 1 and 2 palaging naiyak paguwi...
    mali daw yung assignment nya na ginawa ko,nyak!
    mula nun nagka phobia na pag ako ang gagawa ng assinment nya hahaha at lahat daw ng tinuturo ko mali sabi ni teacer,de puger talaga oo.

  16. Lee, hahaha, para ka palang misis ko. Pag gumagawa sila ng anak ko ng assignment, nire-review ko dahil kung minsan mali ang turo ng ina. : D

    Saan mo nakuha ang term na "de puger"? May bisaya ka bang kaibigan?

  17. I miss having "small" kids, my girls are teenagers already kaya ako na ang kino-correct. Can you imagine them "editing" ME?!? Bakit daw pag kano ang kausap ko, my english is flawless; pero pag sa bahay, lahat ng sentences ends with "ANO". "Anak, get my ano..." hahaha!

  18. Pam, I think "ano" is a sign of old age. Ganyan din ako. Minsan pa nga may kasama pang "sign language". >: D